There are an estimated 200,000 US born American citizens living in the United Kingdom. This does not include US citizens who were born outside the US, or green card holders who may still be living abroad. In addition, people who hold US assets can have US tax matters.

The US tax system casts a very wide net. If you are a US passport holder or were born in the US then you are a US person for tax purposes and are subject to US tax on worldwide income and gains. If the person is a green card holder, even if that green card has expired but not been formerly renounced, then the tax rules may apply. Finally, citizens of other countries who spend enough time in the US to come under the US residency test also come into the net. As well as federal tax, there are state taxes to consider.

Generally speaking, in practical terms, the application of the double tax treaty means that the impact can be alleviated, but it still involves filing tax returns and using the exemption. As is well known, in the past few years the US Revenue has been more assiduous in requiring that citizens complete tax returns and this can involve a significant cost simply in professional fees, even if no tax is actually payable as a net result. Hence many US citizens have been renouncing their citizenship.

Transferring assets in the US can potentially be a disposal for capital gains purposes. There is the potential to have a tax free transfer of assets where the transfer is incidental to divorce if the transfer is between US persons. However, there is a time limit. The situation changes if one party is a US person and the other is non-resident. In that case, a transfer to the non-resident person may suddenly produce a US tax liability.

A similar problem can arise where US based assets are being transferred between two non-US persons.

There is no exemption for the private primary residence, like the UK has. There is a shelter of $250,000 provided the property was the main home for 2 out of the last 5 years.

Alimony/spouse maintenance

The US Revenue treats spouse maintenance/alimony as income taxable by the recipient, although it is deductible by the payer. That is precisely the opposing position to the United Kingdom. It is possible to opt out of that treatment but it requires specific wording to do so.

Pensions

The transfer of pensions does not generally raise any immediate tax issues. However, transferring US based pensions requires a Qualifying Domestic Relations Order (a “QDRO”) to be made in the US to give effect to any agreement contained in a UK Order.

It is common for a US couple to file joint returns in the US. This will involve comingling of foreign tax credits, losses and other carry-over items. These need to be unpicked and allocated to the individuals once they start filing separate returns, and this can be quite a complex exercise. It is not made easier by the fact that usually one spouse takes on the responsibility to deal with it during the marriage, and if they have failed to do it for a couple of years, it creates a problem for the other spouse.

We work closely with professional advisers in these cases and we have long and detailed experience with dealing with them.

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Canada & USA

The scenarios below do not relate to any individual clients of ours but the facts and the outcomes relate to some similar experiences in our practice.

Canadian Spouse

The Scenario

We were contacted by Mr J, a British Citizen who lived here for some years. Previously he had lived in Canada for several years and married a Canadian citizen who was a dual national. Mr J was engaged and wanted to re-marry but had lost all contact with his current wife.

Our Solution

We made a number of enquiries in Canada as to the whereabouts of Mrs J using our Canadian agents. Unfortunately she was not traceable and appeared to have left Canada. We then had to show to the Court the extent of our enquiries and provide evidence to the Court that we had made reasonable efforts to find Mrs J. We were able to do this and the Court allowed us to dispense with the requirement to serve papers on Mrs J on the strength of the evidence we provided to the Court. The divorce was then able to proceed allowing Mr J to divorce and re-marry.

Financial Settlement

The Scenario

Mr and Mrs A were both US citizens but had been in London for 5 years. They were separating and had agreed the financial terms. Mrs A was to return to Florida and Mr A to New York. Mrs A was anxious to ensure that the financial terms were enforceable in the US.

Our Solution

We compared the differing jurisdictional grounds between England, New York and Florida. State laws govern marriage and divorce in the US so separate enquiries had to be made. We then drafted the agreement in terms which would be accepted in the US.

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

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I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Spoke to a kind solicitor this morning who took an hour of her time to talk me through some advice relating to a difficult separation.... She was clear and helpful with her advice, leaving me feeling much more confident with the process ahead of me.

Jun 2023   Luke Taylor

Mr Brookman provided very clear advice that left me with no doubt about the options and next steps. Getting specific advice with the requirements in the different jurisdictions was particularly useful so I won’t need to consult another lawyer outside of the UK

May 2023   Julian Anthony

From initial contact I found all staff extremely helpful and professional. My options were made clear, my query was dealt with in a sympathetic way. Would highly recommend Brookman Solicitors.

Mar 2023   seamus mcguinness

The initial consultation I have just completed with Henry Brookman was very informative; he was very open and honest about my situation, the legalities of the matter and the extent of how his firm could help.

Nov 2022   Kimberley Noakes

About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and is recommended by the Legal 500.

Partner

Mark Rennie

Mark is the Group Head of the Horsham Family Law team. He specialises in all areas of matrimonial law, including complex divorce and financial disputes, and is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Nigel Winter

A highly experienced solicitor, Nigel has expertise in collaborative law, divorce, contested litigation, relationship agreements, and children matters. Nigel is recommended by The Legal 500.

Partner

Samantha Jago

Partner at our Guildford office and recommended by The Legal 500, Samantha has specialist expertise in divorce, children matters, complex international cases, and is a trained mediator.

Partner

Amanda Glass

Amanda is a highly experienced family law partner providing expert advice on all aspects of family law, divorce and separation with an emphasis on financial remedy cases.

Senior Associate

Joanna Potbury

Family law specialist based in Brighton advising on divorce, cohabitation agreements, children, post-nuptial agreements, and domestic violence. Joanna is recommended by The Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

Senior Associate

Ella Welsby

Known for her sensitivity and discretion combined with significant expertise, Ella advises on all family issues including high-value and multi-jurisdiction divorce and complex financial and children matters.

Senior Associate

Gemma Garrett

Based in Horsham, Gemma is a specialist advising on all areas of family law including divorce and separation (often involving jurisdiction issues), complex financial matters, and children matters.

Senior Solicitor

Susan Hayes

Susan qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and is based at our Brighton office. She is a longstanding member of the Law Society Specialist Children Panel and Family Law Panel. Susan is also a trained Collaborative Lawyer.

Associate Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, recommended by The Legal 500 and experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings.

Associate Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Recommended by The Legal 500, Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings.

Associate Solicitor

Lauren Moir

Lauren is a highly regarded specialist family law solicitor, based at our Guildford office. She advises on divorce, family finances, children matters, domestic abuse, cohabitee issues, and relationship agreements.

Solicitor

Rachael Au

Rachael is a highly capable member of the family team in Brighton. She specialises in family law, advising on divorce, civil partnerships, financial matters, and children issues.

Solicitor

Amber Matheson

Based at the Guildford office, Amber has experience dealing with family matters including divorce, finances, separation after cohabitation, arrangements for children and leave to remove cases.

Solicitor

Amelia Groom

Amelia has experience across a full range of family matters, including divorce, complex disputes regarding finances that range from trusts through to cryptocurrencies, and arrangements for children.

Accounts Manager

Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

Secretary

Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

Secretary

Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

Front of House Manager

Patricia Antonio

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

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If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

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Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470